Dakhani humour, popular for its ‘hau’ and ‘nakko’, has always been part of the city’s daily life and has helped several comedians evolve and make a name for themselves.
One of the noted names that come up in most discussions on Dakhani humour is that of Md Munawar Ali, a stand-up comedian from Hussaini Alam of the Old City. Md Munawar Ali has to his credit several radio shows, stage shows and television serials.
His journey began in the late 1960s and continues even today. A product of the Urdu Shareef High School, a noted education institution in Old City in those days, Md Munawar Ali graduated from the Osmania University.
“I enthusiastically participated in cultural events at the school and gradually become famous among students of nearby schools too. The appreciation I received from my teachers helped me continue with satire as my hobby,” Munawar says.
In 1971, the satirist joined the Fine Arts Academy, then a flourishing academy for cultural activities, including drama, satire and sangeet. The academy functioned from the famous Bachelor’s Building, a landmark of the city at MJ Market, in one room and produced several personalities in diverse cultural fields.
“Mohd Himayatullah and Hafeez Khan Mazaaq motivated me to continue with humour after I joined the Fine Arts Academy. I took it as a hobby although I was into government service. Later, ‘Zinda Dilane’ Hyderabad events provided me, like most comedians, a platform to show their talent,” he said.
His participation in the All-India All Languages Drama Competitions organised by the Bengali club and staging the play ‘Silence – The Court is in Session’, brought more recognition to him.
Md Munawar Ali went around the globe, including to the United States and the Middle East, and gave performances in various cities. “In the Middle East, people are very keen on attending the events since they are away from home. But, in Hyderabad, people do not participate but want to watch it on YouTube,” he feels.
He recalls that Hyderabad comedy and performers were a hit in the 1980s. “In those days, when there were shows at Ravindra Bharathi, people were ready to buy the tickets in black to watch them. There were only a handful of theatres then and internet was never heard of,” he recalls.
Audio cassettes, too, were a hit in those days and whenever a new comedy series was released, they flew off the shelves. “Now, artistes upload videos on YouTube for the public to see them,” he says.
After a gap of a few years, Md Munawar Ali has acted in ‘Bolo Hau’, a Hyderabad-based film produced by Yamraj Productions, which will be released shortly.